Marriage is a constant reminder that we are standing in the need of prayer.
Today I read from Song of Solomon (SOS) chapter five. I take SOS to be primarily about the love relationship between a man and a woman. After chapter three the context is marriage. I opened my reading today with a brief scan of chapter five and with a one-sentence prayer. Lord grant me grace for the challenges that are associated with marriage; physical, emotional, and relational. After reading and meditating on the passage I prayed, Lord help me to have character, respectability, and attitude that is sweet, distinguished, and desirable. A key phrase that I noted, came from the lips of the woman in reference to her husband, . . . This is my beloved and this is my friend . . . (16b). From my reading in chapter five I developed four primary points of prayer.
First, I asked God to grant me grace for the challenges of my marriage.
Second, I prayed for a deepening of godly character in my life.
Third, I asked God to help me to cultivate a sweetness and desirability that is obvious to my wife.
Fourth, I prayed that God would grant my wife and me wisdom, insight, knowledge, and skill to cultivate an ever-growing friendship.
Though Song of Solomon gives numerous examples of the joys of marriage, it also contains at least two sections that speak of the challenges of marriage. The first challenge happens on the night before the wedding (3:1-5). The second major challenge is on the wedding night (5:2-8). Both seem to deal with the unique burdens of womanhood (though guys have their own struggles). Indeed marriage is a good gift from God and there are numerous opportunities to enjoy blissful experiences. However, marriage is always between two people who are struggling with remaining sin, the frailties of the body, and the insecurities of the soul. As wonderful as marriage can and should be, it is nevertheless fraught with dangers and in need of God’s grace.
Every time that I read through the Song of Solomon, I am reminded of how much I need God in my marriage. I am also reminded of the ultimate purpose of marriage, which is to display Christ and his church. At the end of today’s reading I am reminded again that I am weak but the grace of God is sufficient to grant me the desire, the ability, and the courage to be a godly man and husband. I am also encouraged to pray for my wife. There are indeed unique challenges to being a woman as chapters three and five of Song of Solomon illustrate. It is my desire to be sensitive to and patient toward the needs of my wife. As I concluded this section of Scripture I was reminded that the challenges that we face in our marriage are not unique. The people that I come in contact with today are facing similar challenges and are in need of God’s grace and help. That thought lead me to one final prayer, Lord grant that I might be used today to point hurting people to the gospel of your grace.